Organic, non-GMO agriculture and food prices can easily be made affordable… and it’s already being demonstrated in Peru

Organic, non-GMO agriculture and food prices can easily be made affordable… and it’s already being demonstrated in Peru

Article reprinted from natural news

 When it comes to non-GMO foods, governments, food giants and Big Agri seem to have excuse after excuse lined up to protect the development of GMO at the expense of the growth of the non-GMO and organic sectors. There has long been a myth around the fact that GMO labels increase the price of food, but now Peru is proving that non-GMO agriculture can be totally affordable.

According to GM Watch, consumer food prices are based on many factors, including the cost of raw materials, production, transportation, advertising and competition. Exact predictions around price hikes are impossible to make, however past experience hasfailed to provide any evidence that GMO labeling would increase prices. In fact, Peru has shown that non-GMO agriculture IS affordable.

Peru food prices and non-GMO

According to Minds, everything grown in Peru is organic and non-GMO, yet food prices are extremely low. Governments have been arguing for years that without the development and expansion of GMO the world will go hungry – and yet a UN report recently revealed that small-scale organic farming is actually the only way to feed the world, as reported by Huff Post Food for Thought.

As the U.S. government is pushing harder and harder for the expansion of GMO farming, the UN is actually sending a very different message – that there is an urgent need to return to and develop more sustainable, natural and organic systems. In fact, experts believe that returning to small-scale organic farming is the only way to solve the hunger problem. According to Living In Peru, “Fresh organic produce in Lima is more accessible and affordable than one imagines. At the Bioferia in Miraflores, organic doesn’t always mean expensive, and the lively, secure atmosphere of the market makes your visit a pleasant experience.”

Peru doesn’t allow GMO at all, as reported by Minds, and the report by Living in Perudemonstrates that organic food can thrive and be affordable. Peruvian-grown produce may not have an organic label, but it is organic, non-GMO and available in most countries across the world. Organic food in Peru is the same price as conventional food in the U.S.

Minds reports that, “It all comes down to supply, demand and overall health/sustainability of farmland. Commitment to organic farming on a national scale keeps the land fertile, non-contaminated and allows prices to come down with abundant supply.” The report also argues that there is a need for 100 percent transparency and clear labeling around the processes that go into the production of food worldwide.

The use of pesticides and other harsh, toxic chemicals by Big Agri is damaging populations of bees and other pollinators, having a massive impact on food supplies worldwide. The loss of wild pollinators puts food security at risk, with 75 percent of all human foods depending at least partially upon pollinating insects, birds and bats. We need to switch to more pollinator-friendly farming practices, and organic, non-GMO farming is the answer to preventing an even greater decline in the number of pollinators.

The debate as to whether or not we should be focusing on GMO or organic farming practices will continue for years to come. The first priority should be for governments to offer transparency around the production of food, allowing consumers to make educated decisions about what they are purchasing.

If non-GMO food prices in Peru are the same as GMO food prices in the U.S., then perhaps the Big Agri-backed U.S. government is making excuses about food price increases to prevent the U.S. population from embracing organic and non-GMO, which would drive food giants to prioritize their stock accordingly.

Sources include:


VARROA – Treatment Free Beekeepers – Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group – UK

This article was original published –  February 2016,  by –

Ron Hoskins – Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group
Ron Hoskins is 85 years old and has been keeping bees since he was a school boy, the depth of experience he has is incredible.
Ron-Hoskins_Swindon Honeybee Conservation GroupFor the past 20 years Ron has been managing his hives without treatments and has been actively selecting and breeding bees for varroa tolerance. In 2010 he hit the news for producing indestructible bees, but his recent work is even more exciting as his bees are now also immune to Deformed Wing Virus (DWV).
Ron’s breeding programme has resulted in three main mechanisms for varroa tolerance being expressed:
Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH)
VSH bees can detect, most likely by smell, when capped brood have become unhealthy due to the varroa mites. The nurse bees will actively uncap the brood and remove it from the hive, disrupting the mites from reproducing successfully. They do this approximately 48 hours before the bees would emerge as adults at what is known as the “purple eye” stage.
Strong VSH – lots of brood uncapped at the purple eye stage
Evidence for this is found on the varroa insert beneath the screened bottom board.
When the bees remove the partially developed larvae they usually grab and pull on the antennae which are nearest the top of the cell. These are translucent in colour because they are only partially developed, and often break off and drop to the floor. They show up most easily on a dark coloured background.
VSH appears to be a fairly common trait, although most bees do not express it to a high degree, and it should be possible to select for in most circumstances. VSH suppresses mite reproduction and helps keep mite levels low.
Grooming/Mite Biting
Ron’s bees also have grooming behaviours where they will help each other to groom and bite mites. Around 20% of the adult mites in the hive at any one time will be phoretic (meaning they are wandering around outside of brood cells). These mites like to hitch a ride on an adult bee and will also wedge themselves into the gap between thorax and abdomen to bite and feed from the bee. The bees cannot groom these mites themselves.
Ron, however, has a snippet of really amazing video footage. A bee with a mite attached does a peculiar waggle dance. It catches the attention of another bee, then bends its body to open up and expose the mite. The attendant bee darts in and bites the mite. It isn’t seen in the video, but presumably the mite is injured and falls from the bee.
Mites that have been bitten show obvious damage when viewed under magnification – legs will be missing or damaged, and the back and body will often show dents and puncture wounds. Particularly interesting is when injured, but still living, mites fall to the floor. These injuries can only have occurred while the mite was alive, and is not post-mortem damage from scavengers.
Observing this type of damage – and particularly finding the ratio of damaged to undamaged adult mites on the drop board – gives an indication of the strength of this behaviour in a given hive. You need a good hand lens (x7 magnification) with a light to see this easily, or a dissecting microscope back in the bee house.
Biting behaviour reduces mite numbers in the hives directly, reducing the direct damage on bees.
Message from Ron:

* The lens I use is a x7 Visibledust Sensor Loupe. It has a 38mm dia lens.
* The microscope is a x10 to x40 Stereo/Zoom/Dissecting ‘scope. (no need to be more powerful) Mine is fitted with Digital camera and program to link with PC.

TypeB Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) – Viral resistance
Viruses in bees are rather complex, and they operate and interact differently from viruses in us humans. Bees have a very minimal immune system so can’t fight off a virus as we do. Instead, all bees have a certain amount of viruses in their system at all times. Most of these are totally benign and don’t harm the bees.
This is because the viruses have co-evolved to live along side the bees without killing them. If a virus gets to be sufficiently virulent that it weakens or kills the bees or the whole colony then they die along with their host. In this way virus usually evolve to become less virulent.
In the case of DWV the varroa mites disrupted the natural equilibrium between the bees and their viruses and a new virulent strain of DWV (known as TypeA) was rapidly spread. DWV is often the final straw that wipes out hives, as the bees are so weakened that they simply cannot support themselves any more. Overtime we expect less virulent strains to take over, and this is what Ron has seen in his bees.
He has had his bees tested and they are carrying a strain of DWV known as TypeB. TypeB has no symptoms and bees can live quite happily with high levels of the virus in their systems. In addition, TypeB appears to prevent reinfection with the virulent TypeA, conferring immunity to the more dangerous form. These results have been confirmed and published in Nature.
This result in particular is very exciting, as it is a previously unrecognised mechanism for disease resistance in bees and offers the potential for “immunising” apiaries by importing the TypeB strain. There is a lot of work still to be done before this type of approach is confirmed to work, but it has the potential to be of huge benefit to all beekeepers if it can be successfully disseminated.
Ron’s methods are laborious and time consuming. He takes mite drop counts from his hives on 48 hour intervals, and classifies them under magnification for bite damage and evidence of dropped antennae. He has tried to recruit beekeepers in his local area to his project but has had very limited uptake – probably in part due to his requirements for frequent microscopy work which is beyond the time availability of most beekeepers.
I think it likely that without his intensive monitoring his line of highly resistant bees would be diluted over a short time through mating with non-tolerant drones, and through less rigorous selection of parent hives. That said the subsequent generations would still be a lot more tolerant than most of the bees TF beekeepers end up using to start their operations.
The next stage seems to me to require dissemination of his bees amongst other treatment free beekeepers to see how they perform away from his carefully controlled conditions. For example his bees could be used to introduce the various traits and the TypeB virus to other beekeeper’s breeding programmes.

Further reading  link to Scientific study

Welcome to The Bee Zone

We aim give bees a healthy and natural life and to make available healthy happy bees societies to existing natural bee-keepers or to people who wish to become natural bee-keepers.

The project will be self-supporting after this fund-raising.

We are in the very early stages of developing a Bee conservation zone. At present we have about 80 bee societies that are disease free and living in an amazing forest area that is free from chemicals, dense traffic and the side effects mono-agriculture. The only farming that occurs is sustainable forestry. We keep our bees in the lovely area in north Värmland and south Dalarna, in Sweden. We are more than organic bee keepers (but also certified) and wish to our bees to stay protected. We are seeking a way forward to make this a reality. Our basic idea is to have an area where the bees can do what they do best, pollinate and make high quality honey that is great for them and for people. We also focus on the development of naturally healthy new bee societies that come from a diverse gene pool, allowing the bees to choose to produce as many drones as they want and a natural mating process.

1 2